Retirement is supposed to be a time to enjoy your free time. For married couples, it means spending time together, traveling to new locations and pursuing new adventure. For an increasing number of couples, however, retirement is bringing something completely unexpected—divorce. According to a 2015 study, the divorce rate among those age 50 and up has doubled since 1990. The rate has tripled over that same period for couples age 65 and up.1 The trend has become so common that it’s created a new nickname: “gray divorce.” Obviously, divorce always has serious consequences. It can create emotional instability, but it also can cause serious financial damage. Retirees may have to split their savings, pension and other sources of retirement income. Newly single retirees may find themselves with a new set of expenses, such as rent, insurance and more.
What is gray divorce?
There are many reasons why couples get divorced. Some reasons may be serious, such as infidelity, dishonesty or financial challenges. However, retired couples often face a unique problem that could be entirely avoidable. It’s boredom. Many retirees look forward to the lack of structure and commitment that comes with retirement. In fact, that lack of structure could be enjoyable in the beginning. However, many retirees quickly grow bored. They miss having a purpose.
That boredom can place pressure on a marriage. Spouses may find that they spend much of their time together, perhaps alone in their house. Without the demands of work and raising children, couples may grow frustrated with each other. Fortunately, there are steps retirees can take to stay busy and keep the peace at home. Below are a few tips to help you find your purpose and protect your marriage in retirement:
Work part time. Retirement is meant for you to escape work, so the suggestion to get a job may seem counterintuitive. However, working part time doesn’t mean you have to go back to your career. It simply means finding some kind of work that provides supplemental income and gets you out of the house.
Look for something related to a favorite hobby. For example, you could work as an attendant at a local golf course. If you’re skilled at art or music, you could teach lessons. You could even drive for a ride-sharing service. You get to set your own hours, and you get to meet new people every day.
Volunteer. Maybe you want to get out of the house but don’t necessarily want to get a job. Volunteering for a favorite charity could be the best strategy for you. Consider how you could best contribute and which types of organizations you would like to support. Then simply contact charities in your area and ask about opportunities. Most charities are always looking for skilled, enthusiastic volunteers.
Be together but not alone. Perhaps you and your wife want to spend time together, but you also miss the socialization and camaraderie that come with work. Look for opportunities to do things together, but in the company of others. Many local seniors organizations offer social outings that you and your spouse could participate in together. You could join a local club or even go on a group cruise or vacation.
Stay financially stable. Money problems only compound marital issues. That’s true at any age. When you’re under financial pressure, every other issue seems magnified. Perhaps the best way to protect your marriage in retirement is to also protect your finances. Keep a budget and stick to it. Also, plan your income strategy carefully so you’ll have a consistent, reliable source of retirement funding.
Ready to develop your retirement income strategy? Let’s talk about it. Contact us today at Bridgeriver Advisors. We can help you analyze your needs and develop a plan. Let’s connect soon and start the conversation.
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